Academic Senate disputes bylaw amendments

Dissension during the Academic Senate brought to light points of contention with the discussion of approving the proposed bylaws by the Academic Senate Executive Committee (ASEC).

Certain bylaws regarding voting rights for adjunct professors, and past senate presidents serving on the executive committee, were two of the most deliberated topics. ASEC had requested feedback from all senators regarding the revision of bylaws. Some members felt ASEC had gone about it the wrong way.

“The Adjuncts aren’t getting fair representation on this campus,” said Michelle Meyer, an assistant professor-adjunct of physics and planetary science.

The methods of ASEC were brought into question.

“What angered me, was that I made recommendations as was being solicited as a senator, and yet it never got brought up onto the document for everyone to review, I had to bring it to the floor and we saw a 20 minute debate,” Meyer said.

Members of ASEC tried to explain the process used to introduce the recommendations made by senators. Angela Belden, instructor of psychology shared her thoughts on the discussion.

“I feel like the process was very transparent. ASEC informed the body and the school as a whole about when we would be meeting, about when we would be discussing we solicited feedback and made revisions on the feedback. I feel like it has been an open and transparent process,” Belden said.

“The bylaw meetings were open to everyone,” said Anna Bruzzese, president of the academic senate.

Meyer commented on the transparency of the selection process for the amendments and the power held by ASEC.

“The ASEC was transparent in that they solicited from the senate recommendations. What happened in my opinion is that the ASEC chose to make a filter and they chose what dialogue we were going to bring to the table and what dialogue they were not,” Meyer said.

The bylaw in question referred to the criterion for adjuncts such as seniority status, and the actual amount of voting members allowed.

“The executive committee felt as a group that we want to keep the bylaws as they were in terms of adjuncts, because we already have adjunct representatives on the senate,” Bruzzese said.

Meyer explained it was not the act of her recommendations not being included, but rather her ideas were not shared with the entire senate.

“With these recommendations that were going on, they were not included in the draft. If we’re going to make a recommendation, it should be put there regardless of anyone’s opinion and then as the whole body we’re going to take these major key items and then discuss and vote afterward,” Meyer said.

Belden replied stating there were numerous attempts for all-inclusive bylaw meetings.

“There were all these meetings, you could’ve gone to and had that discussion with them, The ASEC was not filtering what was discussed at those meetings. They brought up the emails that people brought to them, and it was discussed at those meetings,” Belden said, “The decisions that were made were not at ASEC. They were made at the bylaw meetings.”

Bruzzese shared the purpose of revising senate bylaws.

“We [ASEC] are tasked with creating a coherent document that makes sense. We felt this was our best attempt at creating an improved, updated document. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect. It should be changed. It’s supposed to be changed every two years,” Bruzzese said.

While requesting feedback from all senators and trying to present a finished product to the Academic senate, Bruzzese relayed the challenges of including everyone’s ideas in a single document.

“The thing is, it’s not a document that reflects any individual’s views. It reflects something that the committee agreed on. That doesn’t prevent anyone from coming to the next meeting and making some kind of amendment,” Bruzzese said.